Industrial Cathedral

Industrial Cathedral
"Industrial Cathedral" charcoal drawing on paper 131 x 131 cm Jane Bennett. This drawing was a finalist in the 1998 Dobell Prize for Drawing (Art Gallery of N.S.W.) ; Finalist in 1998 Blake Prize for Religious Art ; Winner of 1998 Hunter's Hill Open Art Prize

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Homage to Picasso Part 1

 My drawings of the exhibition "Picasso: masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris" Art Gallery of NSW
I dropped off my entry to the Dobell drawing Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW just before the cut-off time on Friday afternoon and had a rare spare couple of hours to myself before the opening of the "Ship to Shore" exhibition at the Mosman Art Gallery.
The Art Gallery didn't look too crowded for once so I visited the Picasso exhibition.
During my Marten Bequest Travelling Art Scholarship 1996 -7, I spent a total of 6 months living in Paris, almost long enough to feel like a local. As I had won a studio residency from the Trustees of the Art Gallery of NSW, I had spent most of that time living in the Moya Dyring studio at the Cite Internationale des Arts in the Marais. However, after my residency had finished, I then spent about a month living in the charming hotel L'Hostellerie du Marais in a 17th-century building located near Place des Vosges and the historic Marais district. It was not far from the Cirque D'Hiver and just down the road from the Picasso museum in the rue de Thorigny. I would often drop in there on my way back to my hotel, so most of the works on display in this exhibition were old friends.
ink sketch of Picasso drawing by artist jane Bennett
My drawing of 
Pablo Picasso's Le couper des tetes (the head-cutter) Spring 1901

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However, there were still a few surprises. Just when I had thought I was familiar with all of Picasso's early work, I came face to face with a very confronting little sketch, which I sincerely hope wasn't done from life!

I was trying to pin down what the unnerving look on the face of the "head cutter" reminded me of. The droogy leer of Malcolm Mc Dowell in Stanley Kubrick's iconic film of "A Clockwork Orange" perhaps, plus the stance of the swaggering murderer Lacenaire, played by Marcel Herrand in Marcel Carne's  "Les Enfants du Paradis" . The artistic ancestors of this drawing surely include Picasso's countryman Goya and the caricaturist Daumier, but the most immediate influence would have been the recently deceased Toulouse-Lautrec, who had a taste for subject matter verging on the morbid or perverse. Possibly Picasso would even have been aware of Walter Sickert's series of paintings about the Camden Town murders.
sketch of Picasso drawings and paintings by artist Jane Bennett
As you can see here, whenever I run out of pages in my drawing books, I will use whatever comes to hand.
I like using the catalogue to record my impressions of the exhibition.

sketch of Picasso drawings and paintings by artist Jane Bennett
My sketch of 
Pablo Picasso's "La Celestine" 1904 and "Etude academique"

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sketch of Picasso drawings sculpture and paintings by artist Jane Bennett
My sketch of a Pablo Picasso sculpture
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sketch of Picasso drawings sculpture and paintings by artist Jane Bennett
My sketches of 
Pablo Picasso's "L'homme au mouton" 
and his assemblage of the bicycle seat/bull's head

In my next post "Homage to Picasso, Part 2 - Postcards from Picasso" I will show some of the sketches I did when I visited the Musée National Picasso in Paris in 1997.

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